A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday reserved ruling till June 9 in an application for an independent doctor to conduct a psychiatric test on Charles Okah, charged with terrorism.
The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, fixed the date after listening to the arguments of Okah’s counsel, John Ainetor, and prosecution counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), on the application.
Okah and Obi Nwabueze are standing trial for allegedly masterminding the October 1, 2010 twin bomb blasts at Eagle Square, Abuja.
At the resumed sitting of the case on Friday, Anietor prayed the court to grant an order for a private doctor to examine his client’s mental fitness to stand trial.
He argued that Okah’s family should nominate an independent doctor to conduct the test because the initial one was conducted on his client at a government hospital.
Ainetor said the report from the examination conducted at the National Hospital, an agency owned by the prosecution, was bound to be biased against his client.
Izinyon, however, opposed the application, arguing that it was an abuse of court process intended to delay the trial of the accused and urged the court to dismiss it.
He said the application was filed after the presentation of two initial reports of examinations ordered by the court at the instance of the accused counsel.
He said: “This application constitutes a gross abuse of court process, just as it is irritating to the state.
“The prayer sought by the plaintiff’s counsel is unfounded in law and makes a mockery of the matter.
“Sections 221, 222, 223, 224 of the Criminal Procedure Act settle the issue of who should conduct a medical report and where it should be conducted.”
Kolawole had in January ordered that a fresh medical examination be conducted on Okah to confirm his mental state, after rejecting the report of an initial one.
Kolawole’s ruling followed an application brought by Ainetor claiming that Okah was not mentally fit to stand trial.
Ainetor had alleged that the initial report, dated January 9, and signed by a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at the National Hospital, Dr. Ephraim Oluwanuga, was ambiguous.
Okah’s fresh medical report reads in part that the suspect “suffers from persistent delusional disorder; occasional fluctuation in level of consciousness; intermittent involuntary muscular jerking and hallucinating experience”.